Imaging the Global Migration Crisis Today

Imaging the Global Migration Crisis Today

Image Source: Adrian Paci, Centro di Permanenza Temporanea (Temporary Detention Center) (2007).

By Judith Stallings-Ward, Associate Professor of Spanish

A new interdisciplinary course will be offered this spring, ID 299/IS 350 Imaging Global Migration Today. The course aims to examine the many conflicting and politically charged portrayals of the migrant that have appeared in the mass media since both the escalation of the war in Syria in 2012 and the flood of unaccompanied children from Central America since 2014 at the US/Mexico border. Professor Judith Stallings-Ward designed the course to address this pressing issue and the need for interdisciplinary course offerings at Norwich. “We will examine what claim to truth the various stories about migrants make, and how they influence perception and drive public opinion,” Professor Stallings-Ward explained. “Our purpose is to move beyond binary thinking and grasp the complexity of the global migration crisis and imagine contemporary, humane, and pragmatic responses.”

The course features an extensive line-up of guest lecturers from across and outside of CoLA including Professor Ted Kohn, Dean of CoLA, who has extensive experience living and working in the Balkans; Visiting Scholar Teferi Tafa, a native of Ethiopia; David Ratner, of the United States Coast Guard Academy who is familiar with rescue operations in the Aegean Sea; Professor Rowly Brucken (History), Refugee Human Rights Expert; Teresa Dangwa, an asylee from Zimbabwe; Professor Thomas Taylor (History), expert on the Horn of Africa; Professor Timothy Parker, (Architectural History), who will speak on refugee camps; Professor Sarwar Kashmeri (Political Science), who will discuss China and the U.S. in Africa; and Aimee Vieira (Sociology), who will discuss the sociological aspects of the assimilation process for refugees.

Dean Ted Kohn commented, “The value of this new course is not just its timely subject that fills our headlines: it is also its interdisciplinary nature that allows viewing global migration from so many different angles: history, politics, economics, language, literature, sociology, architecture, and international relations.” Professor Stallings-Ward added, “The topics we will address range from the epicenters of migration—Syria and Ethiopia; border crossings and rescue operations; push factors that drive migration; international responses to migration; and the response of migrants who tell their stories, and artists who interpret migration through unique perspectives that enhance our understanding of the crisis.” The course will be taught in English and is open to students with sophomore or higher standing. It is offered every other year and counts towards the intercultural portion of the B.A. requirement.